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Michael Olson Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Michael Olson lyrics)
Michael Olson Biography
Uptown Minneapolis bustles with the typical frenetic activity found in any of the planned urban communities that have cropped up around the U.Sin recent decadesFrom trendy apparel to rare books, Uptown seems the perfect place for young newlyweds to live, work and connectBut what new Rocketown artist Michael Olson and his wife found among the used CD shops and health food stores in his new neighborhood was a looming antagonism toward the one thing that defined his life: his faith in Christ.
"This neighborhood was filled with all kinds of different people with all kinds of wild beliefs, very few of which were ideas I shared," remarks Olson"I loved living there, but I saw a lot of bumper stickers that I disagreed withA lot of the people around us wore their hostility toward the traditional idea of God on their sleeve... I wrote the song 'I Believe in Jesus' as a response to the environment that my wife and I were living inIt was birthed out of a desire for the knowledge of Jesus to flood the earth."
I I believe in Jesus/I believe He loves us/I believe He came so He could save us/I have seen His mercy/The power of forgiveness/I believe in love that has no limit/I believe in Jesus
A simple song with an even simpler message, yet one that holds the power of the universe in its lyrics"I Believe in Jesus" is the first radio single off Michael Olson's Rocketown debut, and there couldn't be a more appropriate choice to represent the heart of this 26-year-old artistProduced by Nate Sabin (Sara Groves), Olson's first CD, Long Arm of Love, ties the heart of an artist to his roots, to his passion, to his God Brimming with lyrics that unabashedly outline the gospel, this album pays homage to the church with a voice that will move the massesOlson's bigger-than-life vocal chops marry their pristine licks with the gutsy lyrics and melodies of real life and faithLong Arm of Love focuses its message on a God whose grace simply can't be outrun.
Michael Olson says that he was just about born on a church pew in a Wednesday night service, or so the story goesRaised among a church-going family in the western suburbs of Chicago, Michael's father held positions as organist and deacon, while Mom Olson served as assistant choir director, effectively securing Michael's love for music at an early age.
"I can't remember ever not being interested in music I used to fall asleep at night to the walls vibrating from my dad playing the organ down in the living room, and I grew up going to choir rehearsals every Thursday night The church drummer used to try and hide his sticks from me in a different place every weekIt didn't really work all that well, and that's pretty much how I learned to play."
Inspired by the likes of Michael WSmith, James Taylor and Sting, Olson always knew he was meant to be a singer/songwriter and even won the Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Festival merit award for male vocal solo while in high schoolIn 2002, he graduated from North Central University in Minneapolis with a general music degree (vocal emphasis/piano minor)In addition to working as a session vocalist and musician (he plays piano, guitars and drums) as well as producing a few indie projects, Michael Olson excels as a songwriter.
"I started writing cheesy love songs in sixth gradeI was quite the romanticEventually, I crawled out from under puberty and approached some other topicsI really started sharpening my songwriting skills in college."
Over the past several years, Michael has toured with good friend Sara Groves as well as served as the opening act and a featured vocalist on the Gloria Christmas tourThis spring, he joins labelmate Shaun Groves on 25-city promotional jaunt across the U.S.
"I've never really wanted to be anything other than a full-time musician," Michael says"It was just a question of what that would look likeI always wanted to be a singer/songwriter and use my gifts in the capacity that the Lord is allowing me to nowBut before signing to a label, I just tried to be faithful with what God put in front of me at the moment."
That includes serving on staff as a college-age worship leader at Emmanuel Christian Center in Minneapolis, a position Michael at first wasn't sure was meant for him.
"To be honest, I never wanted to work in a churchI was scared of itI had some older music pastor friends who got totally burnt out on life because of their jobsBut I found working at Emmanuel to be a great experienceThere I learned how to be on a team, how to be a part of something bigger than myselfI also learned that the local church is the hope of the worldIt's God's idea, His vehicle to disciple people until He returns."
Olson's music is meant to serve that church, and anyone who walks through its doors, offering the hope and truth of God's amazing grace.
"The overarching theme of this record is graceWhether we grew up sitting in a Sunday school class or not, we all come to a point where we realize we are helpless on our own Thankfully, when I was at the end of myself, I found that it wasn't up to me in the first place... As a result of writing this record I've found myself further along the path of understanding God and understanding what He thinks of meI've experienced a much freer life, and I want the people who listen to my music to experience that same freedom
"The highest purpose for the music I create is for others to be brought closer to JesusI'd love for people to listen to these songs with the understanding that the guy who wrote this stuff is just like themWe have similar struggles, similar questions, but the same GodThe grace of Jesus isn't for a select few, and the freedom that comes from knowing God's love isn't just applicable to the guy on the CD coverIt's for everybodyLove's arm is long enough to reach us all."